Many travelers agree the most important part of the journey is getting there.
If you’re in agreement and have plenty of money to throw around, how about riding a chopper to your next vacation destination? Helicopter services in Costa Rica, though limited, are in demand.
According to Karol Vargas, marketing representative for Aerodiva Heli-Services, helicopters offer service of the same speed and quality as small planes, but have the advantage that they can land anywhere in the country, provided there is enough obstacle free space.
Aerodiva’s two helicopters – a 10-passenger Bell 205 and a four-passenger Bell 206 –are used mostly for medical transfers from other provinces to the private CIMA hospital in the western San José suburb of Escazú, as well as rescue missions and evacuations, Vargas said.
Clients also include potential property buyers looking for aerial views of properties, businesspeople and government officials, she added.
Helicopters are of particular interest to photographers and filmmakers, because, unlike planes, they can hover over sites of interest, Vargas explained.
One of the main advantages for tourists who can afford it is that helicopters can land directly at their hotels.
“Visitors want to maximize their time, and some hotels are not in the vicinity of airports,” she said.
Aerodiva, with prices ranging from $995 per hour for its small helicopter to $1,800 per hour for the large one, lands smack inside the Four Seasons resort in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, at the Los Sueños Marriott heliport in Playa Herradura, on the central Pacific coast, and at White House Hotel in San Antonio de Escazú, according to Vargas.
Aerodiva’s office is at Tobías Bolaños International Airport in Pavas, in the western San José district of Pavas, at hangar number 90; its helicopters are stationed at hangar 69.
For more information, call 296-7241 or visit www.aerodiva.com.
The Academy of Aeronautical Education (AENSA) is an aviation school, air taxi and helicopter service located at Tobías Bolaños’ hangar number 26.
Its four helicopters include a Bell 407, Robinson 44 and 22, and a Eurocopter. According to Marco Alfaro of the academy’s reservations department, prices range from $800 per hour on any of AENSA’s two three-passenger helicopters to $1,300 per hour on its four five-passenger helicopters.
AENSA helicopters fly all over the country, landing at any of the country’s approximately 45 airstrips, including in the town of El Tanque, near Arenal Volcano in northcentral Costa Rica; in Cañas, in Guanacaste; and in the popular beach destination of Tambor, on the Nicoya Peninsula, according to Alfaro.
If you’d rather be the pilot, AENSA offers helicopter-flying lessons on its Robinson 22, he said.
For info or reservations, call 232-1248. Aerobell Air Charter also flies out of Tobías Bolaños, but flights can originate at Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela, northwest of San José, if necessary.
The company has a fleet of three planes that accommodate five to seven passengers and fly throughout Central America and the Caribbean, and one Bell 407 helicopter that holds six passengers and flies all over the country.
A helicopter ride costs $1,300 per hour. A flight to Aero Bell’s farthest helicopter destinations of Corcovado, San Vito de Coto Brus and Tiskita, in the country’s Southern Zone, costs $2,730.
Aerobell is at Tobías Bolaños’ hangar number 14. Reservations can be made online at www.aerobell.com or by calling 290-0000.